This is another of The Whisky Exchange’s exclusives, bottled by Signatory Vintage, from their pretty extensive selection of casks. This one was bottled at 46%, and I think it was done to bring down some of the spicy heat this cask packed. It’s rather balanced, and peatheads will enjoy it very much.
Caol Ila is unique in that some 30% of its production is unpeated. Sure, some smaller distilleries do that too (Tobermory, Bunnahabhain and Bruichladdich, come to mind), but in terms of sheer capacity, at 6.5 million liters of alcohol per annum, Caol Ila is two and a half times as large as Bunnahabhain (2.7m/y), more than quadruple the size of Bruichladdich (1.5m/y) and has 6.5 times the capacity of Tobermory (1m/y). What is curious is the fact that Diageo has plenty of distilleries producing unpeated whisky, so one does wonder why so much of Caol Ila’s capacity would be pointed at unpeated production. Of course, the real benefit of Caol Ila’s size is the fact that there is an abundance of casks out there with independent bottlers.
Signatory Vintage Caol Ila 2007 for The Whisky Exchange, 8 Years Old, Cask 315325, Distilled 25.9.2007, Bottled 3.5.2016, Yield 320 Bottles (46% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Straw colored, thin legs peeling off a pretty sturdy necklace.
Nose: Classic Caol Ila nose with a gentle whiff of new make with brine, pickles in salt, earthy peat, and some honey that was melted in hot water round out the nose. With a drop of water, you can get even more of the spirit with a somewhat fresher nose.
Palate: Smoke and pepper with a hint of dried lemon rind. The smoke is rather dry and follows that initial hit spice on the tongue. A drop of water strengthens the peat while toning down the spice just a bit.
Linger: peat in pepper on the tongue, with a powdery dryness on the palate and on the inner cheeks. Some spice at the top of the gullet joined a bit later like to white pepper on the tongue.
A young expression with a nice kick of spice to it. It’s pretty balanced and was a good choice of a cask. The cask yielded 320 bottles and you can still get a bottle for £56. If you opt for it, this bottle will put a smile on any peat lover’s face.